Natural Color Variations in Cherry Wood Drums:
Cooperman is all-about the amazing quality of local hardwoods. We live and work in the foothills of Vermont’s Green Mountains. and we have a powerfully synergistic relation to the trees around us.
For us, as builders, the choice of a wood species for a particular model drum is largely about workability ( how easy is it for us to mill saw, dimension, and bend), and we mmight be the principle consideration. Then too, there are aesthetic (color and grain pattern) considerations; work here at our millshop can sometimes pause to simply admire an intricately grained plank of wood.
In the upcoming months, we will feature posts about each of the wood species we use and explain our motivations for preferring a particular wood for a particular model drum. But let’s focus here on a common question about the color/appearance of the wood. More specifically, let’s look at the question of the various colorations and hues that we see in the drums that we build from local Cherry wood.
Cherry is our “go-to” wood for most of the frame drums and tambourines. It has a smooth, tight grain that finishes beautifully. Newly sawed cherry has creamy, pinkish-brown hue, which darkens over time, with exposure to air and sunlight, to a warmer caramel brown.
Newly sawn cherry boards:
Not to be too antiquarian about it, cherry wood develops a renowned, lustrous patina.
This drum - cherry wood, laquer finish, no stain - is about 30 years old.
The development of the patina can sometime confuse people when they purchase a new drum. Cooperman has been building Cherry frame drums since the early 1990’s. Our drums are quite durable, and those early drums are still in use, and can be seen/heard in the hands of many artists. Those older drums all display the darkened patina I’ve described above. A newly built drum will, necessarily, be lighter in color and less complex in hue.
This frame drum is about 5 years old
This drum is 3 weeks old
This cherry rim was bent last week:
In time, however, each Cherry wood drum will develop that prized, warm, complex hue. Try to be patient...and don't forget- your newly built drum is going to sound just as amazing as your patina'd senior drum will sound.
from left to right: about 30 years old, about 5 years old, about 3 months old, about 1 week old.